I am so excited about this weeks article. I’ve been working on this for some time, and I was so surprised when this incredible comedian and Canadian icon agreed to have a 1 on 1 with me. I recall him saying to me during one of our discussions that I had a face for television. I was just thrilled. Apparently, it means I have a big face! He said, “Look, I have a big face,” and we shared a laugh. He also mentioned he thought I was funny. Well, I just peed myself a little right there and then. But I didn’t let on and graciously thanked him. I’ve been a conceded bitch ever since. So without further ado ladies and gentlemen, this is Mr. Rick Mercer.
B.I.T.C: Looking back on your celebrated career. What was the moment you knew this was going to be your life?
Rick: I honestly don’t think there was a single “A-ha moment” where I decided that I would dedicate my life to show business. I did have the “That should be me up there” moment, a number of times in elementary school, whenever there was any kind of presentation that was theatrical in nature. I remember being into it more than the other kids, thinking that nothing could be as exciting as travelling around in a van and doing theatre in schools! Eventually, I did do that, and I realized it wasn’t all that I had thought it was, but I was hooked on show business from a very young age.
BITC: Yes, addictions are a serious thing. You seem to have come out on top, though, so good job!
B.I.T.C: Who would you credit as your biggest inspiration in your life personally and professionally?
Rick: There was a TV show on CBC Newfoundland, called The Wonderful Grand Band. It was a local show featuring comedy and music. It was the biggest show in Newfoundland. Literally, everyone watched it. Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea, who is my age, jokes that if Elvis came to Newfoundland, he would have had to open for The Wonderful Grand Band. Once that show aired, there was nothing else I wanted to do. If someone said they wanted to be a firefighter or a pilot or doctor or a nurse or a lumberjack, I would think, “Why?” “Why would you want to do anything else other than work in TV?”
B.I.T.C: There are those addiction warning signs again! I’m addicted to chocolate cake and pickles.
Rick: I don’t think that now, by the way, but I did for a very long time.
B.I.T.C: Oh, I’m on your side, Rick. We’re all thankful this was your addiction of choice. Thank God, you are funny.
B.I.T.C: What’s it like being an icon in your genre?
Rick: Cripes, is that what you think I am? Like most people in show business, I am so grateful to be working. I never thought of my place in the sphere of show biz or in my “genre.” I mostly feel very grateful and lucky that I have had a career that has allowed me to consistently work, create, and perform, and throw the odd opinion into the mix.
B.I.T.C: I’m not familiar with this opinionated side of your otherwise gentile personality. Fascinating!
B.I.T.C: Moment of truth; Is it difficult to live a quote-unquote normal life?
Rick: I am insanely normal, I think. Perhaps the least eccentric person I know, and I like eccentric people.
B.I.T.C: I am insanely eccentric. I think I just ooze eccentricity. I’d go into more detail, but you’re not interviewing me, are you?
B.I.T.C: So how does Rick Mercer balance his public life with his private life?
Rick: I’m pretty good with the balance, I think. Again I feel grateful for the career that I have had. Some people have a hard time with a career that means they are recognized on the street. I don’t mind it. I don’t crave it, but I don’t mind it. And nobody ever put a gun to my head and said “You must work on TV for 25 years” I think complaining about the downside of a public life when you went into one is a bit disingenuous. I could have sold real estate.
B.I.T.C: I would have bought a house from you, Rick.
Rick: ….And overall, I have had some pretty good conversations and interactions with people that never would have occurred otherwise.
B.I.T.C: That’s excellent. It would be like me if I weren’t in retail management for so long I wouldn’t need therapy for anxiety, and therefore I would not have met my cute therapist. So it all works out, doesn’t it? I have to know who Rick was as a child?
Rick: I think I was a normal kid. If I had to count my blessings, the number one blessing would be that I grew up in a nice family with nice siblings and super smart, funny, kind parents. Obviously, you don’t choose your family, so if you end up with parents that are smart and kind, then you have won the lotto. I won the lotto.
B.I.T.C: That is so true. Looks like you won it twice!
What’s the one thing on your bucket list you’ve still to accomplish?
Rick: I want to circumnavigate the island of Newfoundland on a boat. I want to spend more time in Newfoundland. And I want to grow really old and not hurt too much. Fingers crossed.
B.I.T.C: Oh my God, right?!? What’s with all the aches and pains. As soon as I hit my mid-forties, it was like sciatica armageddon. So with that said, what accomplishment in your life personal and professional are you most proud of?
Rick: This may be the Newfoundlander in me, but consistent employment is top of that list. I’m very proud that my partner and I were able to produce projects that employed a shit-tonne of creative people – writers and actors and editors etc. Having a show that people liked is on that list. I’m proud that we had a reputation as people who paid well. In show business, many producers aim for the opposite.
If I meet someone who says they grew up watching me on TV and they give me some credit for their interest in politics or travelling the country, then I kind of burst inside.
B.I.T.C: I love that! People like you, in all seriousness, are a rare breed no matter what industry we’re talking about. Sadly it seems to be all about what they can get from you and not the other way around. Just you taking the time to do this chit chat speaks to who you are as a person. I’m grateful, and I’m super excited. I think I may have peed a little.
B.I.T.C continued…. we are getting so tight right now! So spill whats your sinful pleasure. Chocolate cake? Pickles? Reruns of the Rick Mercer Report?
Rick: Oh god, so many – fish and chips, potato chips, potatoes in general.
What’s next for our Canadian treasure?
Rick: Do you men Tessa or Scott? No idea what they have planned next, but I personally-The paperback of my book – The Final Report comes out in October – and it has new essays. I am hitting the road, with a Just For Laughs tour of Canada called “Comedy Night In Canada” I will travel from St Johns NL to British Columbia. It will be fun and scary as hell. I will be with three great stand up comedians. Ivan Decker, Debra DiGiovanni and Ali Hassan. It is nerve-wracking to be on stage with such talented stand-ups, but I’m up for the new challenge.
I’m enjoying my life right now, not having a tv show, but lately I have been toying with the idea of a new show. So someday soon, I might just make a few calls and run a few ideas up the flag pole and see if a network might be interested. That is, while networks still exist.
B.I.T.C: Wow, so you’re really slowing down now that you’ve thrown in the towel. “Wink.” I’d love to see you in person. I’m sure it’s exhilarating, provocative, delicious, and hilarious! I was really just describing myself there. Seriously though, what an absolute pleasure getting to meet you. I’m still honestly thinking… Oh my God, did I just have an interview with Rick Mercer? The answer is yaaaaas Brucesters! Yes, I did.
Ps: You’re fabulous!
Editor & Publicist